Anders Army veterans meet Pope Francis
PR dla Zagranicy
A group of veterans of the Second Polish Corps, which played an important role in the Italian campaign in the final stages of WWII, has attended an audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican.
Veterans at the Vatican on Wednesday. Photo: Twitter.com/@Kombatanci
Addressing Polish pilgrims, the pope had some warm words to say to the war veterans, who “fought in World War II for the freedom of their country and of other nations”.
“May your toil and sacrifice, and the price of life paid by your friends bring the fruit of peace in Europe and the whole world,” the pontiff said.
They also prayed at the tomb of Pope John Paul II in St Peter’s Basilica.
On Thursday, the war veterans will go to Monte Cassino to lay wreaths at the Polish Military Cemetery on the 73rd anniversary of a historic victory which left the road to Rome open for allied forces in WWII.
Apart from over 20 former soldiers of the Second Polish Corps – commonly referred to as the Anders Army – and their guardians, the group includes former insurgents of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, parliamentary leaders, government officials and scouts.
Part of the group is the daughter of the commander of the Second Corps, General Władysław Anders. Anna Maria Anders is a member of the Polish Senate and a secretary of state in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Monte Cassino and the neighbouring Benedictine Abbey comprised key defence positions of the Nazi-German Gustav line, which was supposed to prevent the Allies from taking Rome.
The victory at Monte Cassion came after 123 days of heavy fighting. As many as 923 Polish troops died during the campaign, 2,931 were injured and 345 were considered missing in action. (mk/rg)